Tonight in the grocery store checkout line a woman turned to me and said "I know you. I don't know why I know you, but I know that I do." I started rattling off information to see if we could find the connection...and eventually we did. Our children are in school together, and she remembered me from the Graduation Reception last May.
Ah, we had a lot of fun that day. I mean, seriously, we did. So, she remembered me somewhat fondly. Which means that I made a good impression. Because often when people tell me that I look familiar, they say that I look like someone who "is a real heifer." Yeah, I so love that (not).
It got me to thinking, though, about those times when I'm not really even remotely concerned about the impression I'm making. You know, like when you run into the grocery store looking like you've just painted the exterior of your house and you run into about eight people that you know. How about all of those people who encounter you that don't know you? Ever wonder what they're thinking?
Oh, come on, you know you do the same thing. We are all snarky when we are people-watching.
Like today at work, someone was outside replacing the outside grill (or doing some kind of maintenance...I really didn't pay that much attention). I noticed that he was pretty inked up, had pierced ears, and a dab of chin hair just hanging on there like some little desperate fluff of nastiness. I'm sure that he could have been a nice guy, and obviously knew something about grills, but I honestly wouldn't know any of that because I was just observing all of this as I walked to and fro from the bathroom all morning.
Yeah, I started drinking a lot of water again.
I'm sure that the skinny little Asian lady I encountered while trying to stabilize my "personal summer" last week in Costco in the cooler had a few ideas about me. I was in the cooler taking my time looking at just about every item in there trying to cool off. She just looked at me like I was some kind of lettuce molester or something.
How about WalMart? I mean...there's even a website called "People of WalMart" because everyone pretty much abandons their personal dignity and turns into a universal set of Jerry Springer contestant wannabes when they go through the gates of Rollback. I know I have. Scary doesn't even begin to describe it. I mean, I think my day is horrible if I have to go in there in the first place. My face no doubt reflects this displeasure. I couldn't care less if my clothes match or my hair is brushed. I mean, WHY?
And then there's those places where you can only hope that you won't see anyone you know where they shouldn't be. I mean, we have an "adult" store of some kind on Highway 31 that we pass on our way to Tuscaloosa. Not that I recognize cars...I'm pretty hopeless actually...but I'd be appalled if I actually did see someone I knew there. I mean...who GOES there? Obviously someone does...because they have a Hummer advertising the store that I've seen from time to time around town. And there always seem to be vehicles parked outside when we pass. I've never seen anyone actually going in or out, though. And yes, I do look.
I suppose that we should live our lives so that we aren't embarrassed when people try to figure out how they know us. We should try to be the same person at home, at church, and in public. Sometimes, that's hard, though. We want to be perceived as the best version of ourselves...but life has a funny way of intervening.
I've made some less than stellar impressions lately. Just ask the girl who works in the deli at Publix. She and I aren't on the best of terms. Or the person at Best Buy in Tuscaloosa who charged us $40 for no reason. The pregnant lady who works at Kirkland's with the huge attitude. The entire staff at Jill's old apartment complex who will hopefully think twice about jerking around tenants. The guy at Comcast who couldn't hear and apply the words "basic cable" when signing us up. These folks have seen a side of me that is not consistent with my best self. But sometimes you just have to go redneck to get your point across.
(Oh, that's a long list...August was a brutal month.)
But I have hope. The people at Chick-fil-A try really hard to offer good service. Likewise with a teller at the bank who just goes out of her way to be nice. The folks at my local Publix (other than Deli Girl) who are friendly and helpful. And there are kids I've known since they were little people who actually act like they are pleased to see me when they do.
So, go out there tomorrow and show the world your best self. You never know who is watching. And if you are headed to WalMart...a little mascara and an outfit purchased sometime in this decade probably wouldn't hurt.